Exchange leads to opportunities

Shawn McAvinue talks to Rockley Farms co-owner Katherine McCallum, of Balfour.

Q. Applications for the latest Angus Transtasman Exchange are open to anyone aged between 18 and 30 and close on August 30. I heard you were once selected for the exchange to Australia. When did you go, how old were you and what parts of Australia did you travel to?

It was 2008 or 2009 and I was about 22. I spend six weeks staying at different Angus studs in New South Wales and Victoria.

Q. Who runs the exchange?

Generation Angus with Angus Youth Australia, which has a scholarship where they send someone to New Zealand.

Q. What were some of the highlights of the exchange?

I was there in January and February so I got to go to Beef Week and got to visit a lot of farm open days. I got to go to Angus Youth Roundup competition. I know other people who had done it [the exchange] and they got a job and stayed six months. It can lead to quite a few opportunities and it really broadens your knowledge of the beef industry. I also got to ride horses, do mustering, general farm work, photographing heifers and bulls for sale and [hosts] were very good at taking you to some of the local sites.

Q. Did you get any job offers?

I didn’t want a job at the time because I wanted to come back because my husband and I had a farming opportunity back here.

Q. Who can apply?

Anyone interested in the beef industry — it could be a commercial farmer who wants to learn about seed stock in Australia.

Q. Congratulations on Rockley Farms winning the livestock category at the 2024 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Did judges give you any feedback on why you won the category?

It was for good animal husbandry and the care we take in our stock, for example we have two cow scratchers in our paddocks. The scratchers help the yearling bulls shed their coat and they love it, but all the cows love it too. Another part of it was our use of DNA technology and for embracing technology in general for animal wellbeing.

Q. Did you find the competition beneficial?

Yeah, they give you a feedback form on what they were impressed with and what you need to work on and provide resources to help with those. We did learn a lot and the finalists were very good. We felt quite humbled to get to the finals.

Q. Was it the first time you entered?


Q. Will you enter again?

Possibly, but I’d give it a few years to work on the "work ons".


Rural Conversations - ‘What steps are you taking to stay competitive and resilient in the face of domestic and global challenges’